DEANIE MEHL: Fort Smith School Board president embraces diversity.
The Fort Smith School Board
yesterday ratified changing the Southside High School mascot
from Rebels to Mavericks
by a 5-2 vote.
But there were plenty of indications that Civil War hasn't ended in Fort Smith. The Southwest Times Record noted that two board members
who initiated the change were defeated in recent elections by candidates opposing the mascot change.
Board President Deanie Mehl objected to characterizations of earlier board actions as secret and to the vitriol that has come from opponents of the change.
At Monday’s meeting, Mehl spoke directly to former Southside graduates in attendance.
“You guys graduated as Rebels,” she said. “You participated on the athletic field as Rebels. You will always be Rebels. We’re not taking the Rebel away from you. We’re trying to embrace a mascot that is the essence of the diversity that’s at Southside right now. It’s not the same school you went to.”